originally sent out as an email on 9/4/2022
Belle Isle, August 2022
Sat Naam, and Welcome in! The never-ending cycle of seasonal change is once again upon us. The knee-jerk reaction is to groan, feel discombobulated, feel all kinds of compulsions to re-vamp our planners, our wardrobes, our schedules, our diets, clean out closets, garages and even relationships. All this doing, doing, doing. We are like Pavlov’s dog, with our conditioned response to environmental stimuli. Not that this is a bad thing, or a good thing, for that matter. But it needs to be a conscious thing. We need to really slow down. Some of us actually need to STOP. All of us need to take more conscious breaths. The world will roll on and unfold if you slow down, you know. If you stop, somehow things will not stop with you. Your family will not become homeless, or starve. Responsibilities will get handled. Photography
I won’t pretend I know what it is like to be you, or to be anybody but Me. We can chant EK ONG KAR all day long (We All Are One) and still be in the dark about anybody else’s experience except our own. Such is the nature of reality. We KNOW we are all made of the same stuff, and are all equivalent in the eyes of God (or whatever construct you look to for guidance), but the grand illusion of separation is an excellent one! I don’t know what it’s like to be YOU.
So this missive isn’t about trying to tell you that I know how it is. That I understand what it’s like to have kids going back to school, to have kids who are leaving for college or marriage, to have kids who are having kids. That I understand what it’s like to start a new job like yours, or to suddenly have less income, or more income, than ever before. That I know what it’s like to be in the process of watching your parent transition. That I understand what it feels like to have a doctor do some tests and give you life-altering information about what they mean. That I understand how busy you are, or how lonely you are, or how anxious or bored you are, with your life.
All I know is, it’s all in our minds.
Uh oh, don’t click away just yet!
We have this marvelous instrument called a nervous system, and it’s functioning like the other systems, mostly of its own accord. We don’t monitor and regulate our circulatory or respiratory systems—most of our body is just humming along using the resources we take in and doing the best it can with them. It’s the same with our brain and spinal column.
So when I say, it’s all in our minds, I don’t mean it like a psychologist usually means it. This is not helpful, to say, “Hey, you made your bed, now you gotta lie in it,” or, “You’re delusional if you think they’re all out to get you,” for instance.
I mean it like, we can straight-up be victims of our biology if we don’t understand how to manage our nervous system, and more specifically, our thoughts.
Managing our other systems, there is a bit more information out there about that, and generally people are willing to change their hydration habits and diets, (digestive, excretory, integumentary and endocrine systems,) quit smoking and drinking/doing drugs (renal, urinary, skeletal system), begin an exercise program (respiratory, circulatory, muscular, immune/lymphatic systems.) The immune system has been in the media lately because we are in a mild pandemic…mild because of many factors not the least of which is vaccines, but the controversy over their use goes to show you how much people want to have control over their body systems! Reproductive systems might be better left to another post. But the last one, the one we most strongly identify with as our ACTUAL SELF, our nervous system, well, we are woefully undereducated about what the nature of this mind we all have is all about.
I am well! I am happy. I am depressed. I am upset. I am a wreck. I am peaceful. I am jealous. I am wretched. I am lonely, I am anxious. I am ruminating. I am not sleeping. I am out of control of my behavior, my feelings, my actions, my life.
This is all nervous system activity. Who is governing it? Anybody? God? Satan? Is it all alone by itself, perhaps like the nervous system of a dog or a cat?
So, I ask, “Who, or What, is managing your nervous system? Who is managing your beliefs, ideas, thoughts, feelings, desires, fantasies and choices? We don’t have Owners who influence our entire lives, like we do with our pets. We are in charge. Right?
I am. I am managing my nervous system. I am.
I think, therefore I am. —Rene Descartes, 1637
(about 99% of people answer with this statement.)
Who or what is this "I" we speak of? How are we going to define this "I"?
Right? Here we are having full, complete, organized lives full of storms and days at the beach, utter turmoil and peaceful joy, and we don’t even know what we are, who we are, who is having our experience.
I submit, Decartes had it all wrong.
I submit to you, if you believe your mind can get you out of the mess that exists in your mind, you are trying to do something which cannot be done. You cannot solve the problem of the mind, with the mind. It will actively thwart you if you try, and if you try, you will only create another problem!
So what should we do?
Well, when you have a minute, you can google it. Then just watch the spiritual teacher that comes up on YouTube talk about awareness being all there is, do what they say to do, and become liberated from your mind.
It sounds flippant, but that’s how Gen Z is doing it these days. Add in some plant medicine, and you might just wake up!
You may start to realize…Paradise Lost, published in 1667 and 1674, spoke the truth:
Maybe I can help. Body awareness during yoga is wonderful for bringing you to yourself. Meditation practice using Self-Inquiry techniques can be enlightening. Or schedule a private session, tailored to what you want to do, so we can explore the meaning of life more intimately. Let’s see if we can bring some clarity, some humor, some intelligence, and above all, awareness, to what you, and I, and all of us, are.
Maybe I’ll give you a book or a movie that will change your perspective.
Maybe we will do some breath work that proves to you that the body follows the breath and the mind follows the body. Control the breathing, control the mindset.
We’ve never lived in a time with more abundant understanding about the nature of personal reality, and about the universal experience of awakening to your true nature.
Bring yourself. It’s all you’ll ever need.
Sat Naam, and thanks for watching.